Skip to main content

Electric Ford Focus Saves Money, Boosted by High Gas Prices, Incentives

Let’s face it, electric car interest goes up and down following the trend of petroleum price and now is as good a time to get that electric Ford Focus with the up to $10,000 incentives given.

Kiss the gas pump blues goodbye, especially if you live in California with a sweetened deal with as much as $10,000 off, the capacity to cruise on carpool lanes and enjoy their new Ford Focus Electric, which was recently voted as America’s most fuel efficient five seater electric car. With gas price already hovering at $4.50 a gallon and projected to hit $5-per-gallon soon, saving $10,000 on a carpool lane electric car might just be what weary consumers and the industry needs.

CARB Eases EV Transition. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board, CARB approved the state’s 2012 Ford Focus Electric owners to drive in the carpool lanes on those highly congested highways. And to sweeten the deal further, they will also be able to take off an extra $2,500 in tax credits on top of the federal tax $7,500 incentive.

According to the Texas Transportation Institute’s annual Urban Mobility Report, Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area rank as the 3rd and 7th worst congestion spots in the U.S. In Los Angeles alone, this means a total of 38 million gallons of fuel are wasted a year, which costs the average commuter an extra $1,464 a year.

America’s Most Fuel Efficient EV
. All of this comes in a t great time when the Ford Focus Electric was recognized as America’s most fuel-efficient five-seater electric car, EV. With 110-MPGe in city fuel economy rating and 99 MPGe on the highway, this EV is coming onto the market with a splash in the pond. If you were on the fence until now with the Ford Focus Electric and live in California, wait no more. You can now apply for the State’s $2,500 tax rebate whether you purchase or lease it for 36 months or longer and then add the extra $7,500 in federal tax credit to your yearly budget.

According to Ford’s John Viera, Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters there isn’t a better time to save money at the pump by going gas-free with its Focus Electric.

Quickly Charging The Ford Focus Electric. Savings are huge advantages with the Focus Electric. With the average cost of a full charge at night ranging between $1and $2, this gives you around 76 miles, depending on your driving style, and environment and road condition. To get a better idea of what this adds up to, think about a 38 mpg car, where the cost to drive that same distance at $5 a gallon would equal to $10. $2 or $10 over the years, the choice is yours. A quick and dirty calculation gives you about $9,700 in fuel costs savings over five years compared to the average new vehicle with average national gas prices. This is good news since the last 10 months has seen a sharp rise in the number of domestic charging stations, up from 750 to 5,507, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

But the Ford Focus Electric also offers a few things the competition doesn’t yet. It has more passenger room, a faster charging system and slightly more range than say a Nissan Leaf. Yes Nissan, the Leaf now has competition. Careful driving, feather foots and hypermilers will even squeeze 100 miles on a single charge.

Ford Ramps Up EV Production. In order to meet the ever increasing EV demand, Ford is also tripling its production capacity in order to reach over 100,000 through 2013. The company is also applying to have CARB qualify its growing portfolio of electric and plug-in hybrid, PHEV vehicles for the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. The 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid and the 2013 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid will be petitioned. Both vehicles get an impressive overall range in both modes, electric and gas of more than 500 miles.

The Ford Focus Electric and plug-in hybrid family comes in at the right time when petroleum is getting harder to drill and extract, rising prices to ever heights. With the price of a barrel pointing to $150, it will be soon enough when it reaches the 200 and above threshold, sending consumers in a frenzy. In many ways, the Ford Focus Electric and Energi family come in at right time with a nice $7,500 rebate and up to $10,000 in California.


Aaron Turpen    March 13, 2012 - 4:56PM

$9,700 over 5 years is significant, BUT what will that charging station and its installation cost you? Nearly all EVs require you to install some kind of charging unit in your garage in order to get anything more than a trickle charge effect on your battery. Charging at 110V takes nearly a day with almost all EV models, assuming the car even comes with a built-in charging ability - which many don't.

So that extra cost, which is usually in the thousands, has to be paid on top of the car's purchase. A typical California installation can be $5,000 or more, so that savings over five years starts to look pretty slim.

It's very important that people understand that the electric car, great as it is, is not all roses.

To be fair, the same issue is in inherent in other non-drop-in fuels (CNG, hydrogen, etc).

Nicolas Zart    March 14, 2012 - 1:38PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Hi Aaron, I don't know where you get those astronomic numbers but the installations I've seen around here were closer to $3,000 ~ 3,500. And that's not taking into account leasing them. Another great thing about owning a battery pack and having a few of them lying around is using it as temporary storage units. Filling up at night, reselling it in the day time, making a profit or simply reusing it for you home, is another substantial saving in the long run.

Another myth about EVs that you recharge when the battery is completely depleted is something I've rarely seen EV owners do. It makes little to no sense. Driving an EV is a paradigm shift. You don't wait for the battery pack to run dry before you plug in, you top it off whenever possible. There are more places than we can think of to do this, as I discovered with EV drivers. Then again, the same applies to gas cars. Driving on empty tanks is asking for trouble.

I don't think anybody is naive enough to think driving any car is all roses, like you say. There are dues for every rights, driving and owning a car comes with its fair share.

Nonetheless, the happiest drivers I've seen so far are those who did they calculations well, have solar panels and other alternative energy sources on their properties, driving clean electron, guilt-free EVs. That is an unbeatable feeling. There are more solutions than problems in this life. It's just a matter of how you see and tackle them.

Thanks for your comment, Nicolas

Aaron Turpen    March 14, 2012 - 2:15PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

$5,000 is the price, with installation by a qualified electrician, before any government incentives. Even at $3,500, that's a large chunk of those savings that you didn't account for. Leases also cost money, again, eating into those fuel savings.

I'm sure all is great when you can afford extra battery packs, solar panels (which are a losing proposition where I live, btw), and whatever else. All of those things cost money, adding to the cost of your car. Also, there are only a few places where energy is cheaper at one time of day than it is at another. In almost the entire central U.S., electricity costs the same no matter what time of day it is, so you can't make anything selling it back.

My biggest gripe with EVangelists is that they seem to believe that the whole world is California. I like electric cars and think they have a place in our future, but I don't think they're the end-all, be-all of motoring.

People like myself (a very large percentage of our nation's population) live in the midwest or mountain states, travel relatively long distances regularly (more than 40 miles), deal with cold climates and often questionable roadways, and have median incomes that are almost equal to the cost of most (realistic, actual car) electrics on the market today. Where I live, the average income is about $40,000/year, the average home is priced at around $100,000, and light-weight cars are a detriment, not a bonus, thanks to the wind and ever-changing heavy weather.

Nicolas Zart    March 14, 2012 - 3:02PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Ah, I see where you're coming from now. I'm just a car enthusiast, old and modern alike. Newer technologies answer certain questions and no one should an EV if you live in the Mid-west.

As far as $5000 for charging stations, I haven't heard anyone spending that lately on them, even in California. Maybe Rolls Royce would ask for that. Nissan and a few others remove a lot of the leg work with installations, permits and all. Leasing is an option favored by many. All in all, it saves money in the long run considering where gas price has been going. Doing the math right can get you solar panels on your roof and balance your energy bill quickly. Obviously, solar doesn't work everywhere, there are other options.

California is a huge economic force in the world and a driving force in the automobile world.

$40,000 will get you a good cars, but $21,600 will get you close to 100 miles on a Mitsubishi i, which I will have the privilege of testing for a few days very soon.

Lastly, I don't see anywhere anything I've ever written about EV being the "end-all, be-all of motoring". You must have me confused with someone else. At my age, we tend to be a little more diplomatic and embracing the different solutions out there while enjoying how everything has its place.

Thanks for your comment, Nicolas

Dan5 (not verified)    March 28, 2012 - 12:43PM

For some strange reason I am very dubious of Fords numbers. Having Ford cars before, my gas mileage was always 10-15% lower than the EPA ratings. I don't buy the fact that it's 99-110 MPGe, there has to be alot of caveats in there considering that the Focus Electric is not a ground-up EV like the MiEV, Leaf, or Model S.

More or less this car has the same range as the projected range as the Leaf, so as a commuter car I would rather buy the Leaf and save thousands of dollars.

I don't think the C-max energi is impressive at all, either at current technology levels or technology levels 10 years ago. It only has a 20 mile plug in range and has a lower mpg than a Prius. If I was concerned about the environment, I would take a regular Prius, slap on a Hymotion plug-in kit and get a 40 mile plug in range and have that cost less than the C-max is expected to cost.

In terms of the 100,000 cars by 2013, that is very fool hardy and wishful thinking. Take a step back, they have a car that is a competitor to the Leaf, but at a higher price point. The leaf has sold less than 20,000 units worldwide. Let me get this straight Ford expects to sell 5 times as many EVs AND charge more for them AND will have to deal with competition from BYD (same price longer range), Mitsubishi (lower price), Nissan (lower price), Tesla (longer range, more luxury), and other EV makers

Nicolas Zart    March 29, 2012 - 3:30PM

In reply to by Dan5 (not verified)

Hi Dan,

All valid points, save for the iMiEV was not designed from the ground up to electric. As always, manufacturer numbers are always on the optimistic side. Remember those pesky emotional stock holder? For me the real competition is the i which is shy of $22K and still gets you the same if not more of the range. Range and especially that eMPG calculation is tricky. You and I don't drive the same, nor do we probably drive in the same city, so our identical cars will always yield different results, gas or electric. As as eMPG, I always thought it was silly. We should have gone for something more realistic like kWh/Mile.

In the end, it's not a bad thing to see a company do well. And ther more competition we have, the better the prices will get.

Thanks for your comment, Nicolas